Jackson County Sheriff's Department invests $20,000 to buy 2 drones

JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is now using drones to giving law enforcement a bird's eye view.

The small Indiana department now has two drones with which to survey scenes quickly.

“This is probably the biggest investment that we have made in technology,” Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers said. “We have 17-man departments including myself. Jackson County is, if not the lowest, one of the lowest tax rates in the state. It makes it a little difficult to operate sometimes,”

Despite the limited budget, Jackson County deputies are now learning to pilot the drones, something many larger departments may not even have the opportunity to do, yet.

“We've got to find other creative ways to generate funds,” Carothers said.

The total cost was $20,000, and inmates helped pick up the tab. The Sheriff's Department used funds generated from the jail commissary.

“There were no tax dollars utilized for this,” Carothers said.

The drones will help law enforcement act quickly during emergencies. Before the drones, the department had to request a chopper from Indianapolis, which wasted time and money.

“We had people that have fled from law enforcement,” he said.

The drones will also help keep law enforcement safe, and they’re more efficient than sending deputies on foot.

“This is kind of the modern-day horseback, I guess you could say,” Carothers said. “We have two different ones."

They could start using them as early as next week to start protecting Jackson County by air.

“How did we even operate without one?” Carothers said.

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